Muslims all over the world are about to celebrate one of the Muslims' celebration days -- Eid; it is a day of celebration after a full moon's of pure worships and fasting. In the South East Asia region, the celebration is rather unique. There will be specific types of food prepared and served to guests and these dishes can be similarly found in different parts of this region including in Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Singapore and Thailand. And, in Malaysia, Eid will be celebrated for one month. Nowadays, it is customary to have an open house during the whole month of Eid particularly, for those living in cities. The majority of the kampung folks are still holding to old traditions in most parts of rural areas, where the first few days of Eid will be celebrated by visiting families and friends houses; as such, the atmosphere and feelings of "raya" can be felt truly.
My best memories of Eid celebration have always been during my childhood times, perhaps even during my teenage age too. Nowadays, those happiness in celebration would be for the children. I still remember when I was a kid, visiting my grandmother's house and other grand-aunts houses, uncles, aunties and cousins, the environment and the feelings were so jovial, with lots and lots of different kinds of foods, sweet and savoury alike. I remember the nice big cake with colorful icing on it put on the table at the middle as the "ibu kueh" meaning, the head of table. The cake will stay in the middle of the table for at least a week. Only after a week of display, can it be eaten. And, the eating part of that cake is a ceremony, a noisy ceremony filled with laughter and fun.
I don't know why, but, I feel that the taste of the food during my childhood time and today are different already. I wonder, is it because of my age as an adult made me tasted food in different way now, but, i feel the food when I was a kid tasted so good. The peanut gravy eaten together with ketupat- the rice cake cooked in young coconut leaves, tasted heavenly when I was little. So was the beef rendang, the lemang, the almond cookies, the coconut cookies, the semperit and the dahlia cookies, the kek gula hangus, the lengkong merah, even the red syrup drinks! I guess, perhaps the memories what makes the taste of the foods still the best in my mind. But, perhaps, because most of the food were cooked by my late great grandmother and grand-aunts. So, that memories are attached in my mind like an elephant glue.
Such beautiful memories; went to visit the houses all around the kampung with my brother and sisters and friends and cousins were the most joyous feelings at that time. And, the pakciks and makciks were so courteous and kind and so patient when greeting and serving foods and drinks to us kids. And, after eating, we will get some "duit raya" for twenty cents , during those times. But, my father was the generous one in the kampung. He gave fifty cents to the kapmung kids and one Ringgit to his nieces and nephews. Those kampung kids will come every day to our grandma's house for a week just to get the fifty cents duit raya from my dad, and my dad would say to these kids that he remembered them from yesterday's visit and he will laugh and still will give the duit raya again.
I love raya. Because, I love visiting families and friends and having the joy of spending time at their houses and eating good food. And, I love when families and friends visit my home too for raya. This is special time. The foods taste better. The laughter are more genuine. The smiles are frequent. The smells in the air are even different. You can smell the aromas of foods everywhere and many different kinds of perfumes too. And, the sights are beautiful too; colourful clothing's, colourful dishes, and colourful curtains and carpets too.
I simply love Eid in Malaysia! There will be no other place in the world where you can find such merriment like this. How I wish I am seven again...